Did Ramen Gaijin just get Rich-slapped?
Chef Matthew Williams isn’t quite sure why his ramen shop recently got called “white guy ramen” by the notoriously opinionated Richie Nakano of SF’s late Hapa Ramen.
So, okay, he and co-owner Moishe Hahn-Schuman are white guys, and their restaurant is called Ramen Gaijin (gaijin refers to a non-Japanese or foreigner in Japanese), but when you’re cranking out some of the best ramen in the Bay Area, well, people tend to take pot shots. Nakano swiped at the two in a recent Eater article, which even by outspoken chef standards seemed like a low blow.
Which is unfortunate, because Williams and Hahn-Schuman are ramen savants, meticulous to every detail of this simple-yet-exceedingly-complex noodle soup. They deserve a little more respect from a fellow ramen-eer.
In fact, the two just bought Nakano’s Japanese noodle maker for their own Sebastopol shop, cutting their 6-8 hour in-house noodle-making process to mere minutes. At a fire-sale price. Maybe that’s why Nakano’s so steamed.
They also source ingredients from small local farmers and coastal fishmongers, and painstakingly craft everything from karaage (Japanese fried chicken) to their signature Shoyu Ramen with patient hands. This is no production line. And, I literally have never seen a quieter, more focused kitchen.
The guys take it in stride, saying that they stand behind every single bowl they serve. Period. Classy.
While frankly, Biteclub would be willing to bathe in every bowl they serve. Not so classy. But oh so good.
Ramen Gaijin: 6948 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, (707) 827-3609.